Gerald L. Kuiper, 72, passed away following a courageous and lengthy battle with cancer on Friday, August 16, 2013, at Bright Kavanagh House in Des Moines, Iowa.
Gerald Lee was born April 2, 1941, in Oskaloosa, Iowa to Ralph and Nellie (Van Den Berg) Kuiper. He was raised on a farm north of Pella, Iowa and attended country school through the 4th grade.
Gerald graduated from Pella High School in 1959 where he played football, basketball and track and earned 12 varsity letters. He was the captain and quarterback for his high school team.
Gerald met Nancy Lee Terpstra at an athletic event at Pella Christian High School and they became high school sweethearts. Following his graduation he enrolled at Iowa State University in Ames, Iowa and played freshman basketball.
Later he transferred to Central College in Pella where he received his degree in 1964 majoring in Physical Education and Sociology. He was the recipient of the Richard J. Mentink Award for leadership, sportsmanship and inspiration. Gerald and Nancy were united in marriage on June 7, 1962, at the First Reformed Church in Pella. He coached football, basketball and track at the Pella and Knoxville High Schools.
He later became a partner in Vic Young Sporting Goods in Des Moines; was an Adidas rep and a longtime salesman for Hopkins Sporting Goods. He spent 20 years in Development at Central College and Progress Industries in Newton, Iowa, and assisted in the development of Honey Creek Resort.
He served on several boards, was a Kiwanis member, and Deacon of his church. Gerald and Nancy served as Youth Group Sponsors both in the Pella and Knoxville churches.
Another one of Gerald’s enjoyments of life was officiating, both as a football referee over 26 years and as a track starter. His career spanned over 46 years and was ranked a Master Starter. He officiated many NCAA college and university track meets as well as the Nike Masters meet in Eugene, Oregon. Gerald was a starter for both the Boys and Girls State Meets; a Drake Relays official for over 30 years, served as assistant chief umpire and was an inductee into the Iowa Track Officials Association Hall of Fame, and in 2006 was inducted in the Drake Relays Wall of Honor.
In 2010 he received the John Lowry Distinguished Service Award by IATO. In 2012 the high hurdle event at the Knoxville Panther Relays was named in his honor. He was named Official of the Year on several occasions by the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union. He was a highly respected starter and thoroughly enjoyed watching the accomplishments of young athletes. This was very fulfilling to Gerald until his retirement in 2005.
Gerald and Nancy were privileged to celebrate their 51st wedding anniversary in 2013, though he was facing many health challenges following a diagnosis of cancer in 1996. Gerald cherished his wife, children and grandchildren. He enjoyed attending his grandchildren’s activities and events. He will be remembered as a loving husband, father and grandfather.
Those who are left to cherish his memory are his wife, Nancy, of Indianola, daughter, Lana Michele Smith and her husband, Paul, and their two children: Jay and Kaylee of Indianola, Iowa; daughter, Dr. Lisa Ann Copple and her husband, Kenton, and two children: Kade and Carson of Waukee, Iowa; son Thomas G. Kuiper and his wife, Tammy, and daughter Avery, 3 stepsons, Austin, Caleb and Sage of Pella, Iowa; two sisters, Violet Boot and Norma Hiemstra; his mother-in-law, Pauline (Van Kooten) Terpstra, all of Pella; five sisters-in-law and four brothers-in-law: Gretta and Chester Geels of Pewaukee, Wisconsin, Carole and Henry Stavinga of Largo, Florida, Georgia and Dr. Sander deHaan of Holland, Michigan, Frances Van Waardhuizen of Farmington, Missouri, and Myrna and Gerald Schuiling of Rockford, Michigan; and many special nieces and nephews, cousins, an aunt and dear friends. Gerald was preceded in death by his parents, Ralph G. and Nellie Kuiper; his father-in-law, George A. Terpstra; his brothers-in-law: Arvin Boot, Rev. Harold Hiemstra and Charles Van Waardhuizen; three nieces: Kaylene Boot, Valerie Hiemstra and Michele Van Waardhuizen, and a nephew, Aaron Van Waardhuizen. Gerald was baptized at the Third Reformed Church and made profession of his faith at the First Reformed Church in Pella. At the time of his death he was a member of the First Christian Reformed Church in Pella, Iowa.
Funeral services were held on Wednesday, August 21, 2013 at the First Christian Reformed Church in Pella. Arrangements were handled by Van Dyk – Duven Funeral Home in Pella.